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Daily Prayer - 2013-02-12

Presence

Lord, help me to be fully alive to your Holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.

Freedom

Lord, like Saint Ignatius, I offer you my memory, understanding,
My entire will.
All I ask for in return is your love and your grace,
That’s enough for me.

Consciousness

I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God.
I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them.
Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.
I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.

The Word of God

Mark 7:1-13

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
“This people honours me with their lips,
 but their hearts are far from me;
 in vain do they worship me,
 teaching human precepts as doctrines.”
 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’

Then he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, “Honour your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban” (that is, an offering to God)— then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.’

Some thoughts on today's scripture

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  • A whole regime of external observances had grown up among the people – authorised by self-appointed religious experts; and persons could be judged religious or irreligious depending on how they ticked those ‘boxes’. These externals then began to be accorded the whole weight reserved for God’s own precepts for good living – for "the weightier matters of the law" (Matthew 23:23). The focus had shifted away from heartfelt acceptance of God’s demands – to religious ‘formalism’ as expressed in a vast range of customs and rituals.
  • Jesus was well aware of how some people could use lip service to an array of regulations as a means of avoiding any real commitment to God’s very own teaching and way which might go right to a person’s heart.

Conversation

God’s Word is always fruitful.
How is it touching me now
As I reflect on what I have just prayed?
Do I feel comforted?
Do I feel challenged?

Conclusion

I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Amen

If you appreciated the daily prayer or have any suggestions or insights we will be glad to hear from you.